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Brand names:

CellCept®, Myfortic®

Other names:

Mycophenolate mofetil, Mycophenolate sodium, Mycophenolic acid

Often used for:

Prevention of organ rejection after kidney, heart, or liver transplant; Graft vs. host disease (GVHD) after stem cell transplant

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What is Mycophenolate?

Mycophenolate (CellCept®, Myfortic®) is a medicine that suppresses the immune system (immunosuppressant). It is used to decrease the body’s natural immune system. Mycophenolate may be used prevent or treat GVHD in hematopoietic cell transplant. It may also be used to prevent rejection of organ transplants or to treat autoimmune diseases.

Female patients of childbearing age will be given a pregnancy test before starting this medicine. Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and to monitor kidney and liver function. This drug may increase the risk of infection, especially in patients with a weak immune system.

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May be taken as a tablet by mouth

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May be taken as a capsule by mouth

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May be taken as a liquid by mouth

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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV

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Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Joint, muscle, or back pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Dizziness or shakiness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Swelling of the legs or feet
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin rash
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Increased heart rate
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems

Not all patients who take mycophenolate will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Possible Long-Term Effects

Some patients may experience long-term or late effects of treatment that may continue or develop months or years after treatment ends. Possible late effects due to mycophenolate include:

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • This medicine may increase risk of skin cancer. Patients should take steps to protect skin from the sun. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Avoid sun exposure when possible.
  • Patients should not take antacids within 2 hours before or after taking mycophenolate, unless recommended by a doctor or pharmacist.
  • Sexually active female patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 weeks after completion of therapy. This medicine may make birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control methods less effective. Sexually active patients should use another form of birth control, like condoms, to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine. 
  • Male patients who are sexually active should use a condom during treatment and for 3 months after the final dose.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Mycophenolate at home:

  • Take the medicine at about the same times each day.
  • Take on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.
  • Tablets and capsules: Swallow tablets whole. Do not cut, crush, or chew. Store at room temperature. Protect from light
  • Oral liquid: Shake well before use. Use the measuring device (oral syringe) that comes with the medicine. Store liquid mychophenolate in the refrigerator or at room temperature. The medicine may appear hazy after refrigeration. Throw away unused liquid medicine after 60 days.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Caregivers should wear gloves when handling this medicine. If the medicine gets on skin or in eyes, wash the area right away.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling, storage, and disposal.